Is Your Irrigation Prepared to Perform?

June 19, 2019

This year has been an interesting year for weather. As of May 15th, we have had 100-200% more rainfall than normal this year across the Central Valley Ag trade territory. As your equipment sets idle in the fields, the last thing on your mind has been whether your irrigation is ready to go for the summer growing season or not. I write this to remind you that the irrigation season is right around the corner and now is the time to make sure your pivots are prepared to perform when you need them most. With this article, I hope to give you a few quick checks that you can do, so that you can be confident that your pivots are ready to go once irrigation season comes.
 
#1 Check the Pump Power Plant
Whether you use electric, natural gas, propane, or diesel engines they all need some maintenance to make sure they are functioning properly for the season ahead. Electric motors account for about half of the pumping plants in Nebraska currently. Even though electric motors are relatively maintenance free it is still a good idea to change the oil annually. Also, on electric motors be sure check the wiring to make sure connectors are tight and make sure rodents haven’t damaged the wiring in your electrical box.
When it comes to the internal combustion engines, there are a few more things to check to ensure you are ready to go when the time comes. First, be sure to change the engine oil and all the filters. This includes the fuel, air, and oil filters. If the engine hours require it be sure to check, drain, flush, and refill the cooling system on your unit. Also, be sure to grease and adjust the clutch and driveshaft between the motor and the gearhead. If you are using a gas, propane or natural gas engine be sure to check the spark plugs and replace them as needed. Lastly, be sure to check your fuel level and drain the water out of the tank if it is a diesel engine. If you need a fuel delivery be sure to call and get it scheduled so that when you are ready to start irrigating you will have plenty of fuel.
 
#2 Check the Pump
Sometimes the pump is overlooked when getting the pivot prepared for the season. Before you begin to irrigate be sure to refill the drip oil reservoir and allow the oil to drain into the drip line based on the pump column length. A general rule is that it needs one gallon of drip oil for every 100 feet of depth. Make sure the drip line is attached and all the fittings are tight.
 
#3 Check the Center Pivot
Even though this part will take a little more time to go through it should help to eliminate down time in the middle of summer when the crops need it most. First, start by checking each tower. Be sure to check the tire pressure and the condition that they are in. This will ensure the flotation is maximized so your pivot performs as it should. Be sure to drain the water from the gearboxes and top off the gearbox with the appropriate gear oil. Also, be sure to inspect the tower control boxes and alignment systems on your pivot to ensure everything is functioning properly. Next, be sure to grease all moving parts, including the pivot point to eliminate unnecessary wear and tear on irrigation parts. After you have checked everything over be sure to start the pump and the center pivot system. Check everything for leaks and ensure that your sprinklers are operating properly and fix or replace anything that isn’t working correctly. Taking time to flush your pipeline and clean your sand trap is essential if you have water quality problems or your irrigation water contains sand. Lastly, be sure to operate and check the safety functions of your pivot. Taking the time now to check these safety features will ensure the system will be shut down, should a system component fail, prior to causing major damage to the pivot.
 
Summary
As you can see taking the time to look over your irrigation system and perform some general maintenance should help to ensure your pivot will be prepared to perform this growing season. Here at Central Valley Ag we have a full line of premium Cenex® lubricants and greases that you need to keep your irrigation system running smoothly all season long. Also, don’t forget to ask about how our Ruby Fieldmaster premium diesel can offer year-round protection for your diesel engines as well. To learn more about how Central Valley Ag’s energy team can benefit your operation or to learn more about our premium Cenex® products click here. 
 
Justin Fleming, Energy Sales
Posted: 6/19/2019 11:46:53 AM by Mallory Wittstruck | with 0 comments


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